This is a call for all my fellow University of San Francisco peers — the younger, the better — to listen to a senior’s final plea to all undergraduates. I am weeks away from walking towards an unknown future, wearing a cap, gown and crammed with information from various professors, PowerPoint presentations and books. But still, I must wonder, “Now what?”
I have no jobs lined up, no internships awaiting me, no real prospect for a way to repay the loans that were necessary and pushed me into this unfortunate situation I find myself in today. Instead, I have a lingering regret — not due to my crazy college experiences, but from what I did not experience. From what I decided I did not want or need to experience. I made the decision to not take on the working world early on and now it has left me stranded, calling out, “Now what?”
As I step off of the university’s grass, I realize that I have spent five semesters here, not once really taking advantage of what the university offers on a regular basis. I never attended any career fairs, never looked at Dons Careers to see what hot internships were open to me, never thought about attending one of the several seminars about how to find such opportunities.
Perhaps I thought the jobs would be lined up outside, waiting for me to pick and choose. Instead, while my classmates are accepting positions and entering the working life, I am left behind, hoping someone can answer, “Now what?”
My first semester I had one class Monday, Wednesday and Friday, which would have allowed me to intern somewhere a few hours a week. The following semesters had a similar pattern that would have given me the chance to work and build my resume. And now, in my fifth and final semester, with the most random class schedule, without the experience anyone in my place should have, I contemplate, “Now what?”
No one can answer the question for me. Today, I stare at DonsCareers and Craigslist, applying to anything that may result in an offer. And even with the prestigious diploma I will soon receive in the mail, it will not be enough. So now, I must ask myself, again, “now what?”
I appeal to you, my USF peers, and especially to you, freshman and sophomores: take advantage of what the university is offering now. Attend every career event, check DonsCareers regularly and apply, apply, apply. Reach out to the USF community to find someone who can mentor or help you on your journey. Join a club or group — and if you don’t like it, then change it from the inside. Make your LinkedIn profiles professional and connect with the people you meet. Network every single day and be active. Otherwise, there’s room at my table for us to have a lengthy conversation about “Now what?”